X-Mas Zinnebir | Brasserie de la Senne

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X-Mas ZinnebirX-Mas Zinnebir
Very Good
143 Ratings
X-Mas ZinnebirX-Mas Zinnebir

Brewed by:
Brasserie de la Senne

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Risser09 on 12-10-2007

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 143 |  Reviews: 94
Photo of philipquarles
4.57/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a de la Senne tulip, X-Mas Zinnebir is much darker than its year-round cousin--a very hazy dark amber with a tall off-white head. Nice retention and lacing; settles to a solid half-finger of foam.

The smell is close to normal Zinnebir, with a lot of citrus esters up front, along with some slightly bready/lightly roasted malt. Hints at gum almost.

The taste is quite different from what I was expecting. Roasted malt comes through first, followed by bitter hops. Some slight chocolate notes and light fruit esters. Really nuanced.

Mouthfeel is quite decent, though slightly overcarbonated for my tastes.

A great beer, as always, from de la Senne.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured an ice-tea color with a huge rocky light tan head.

S: light and yeasty with some spiciness and fruitiness.

T: The flavor was spicy (cloves, cinnamon) with some sugary sweetness. There as a big fruitiness (melons, honeydew, apples) along with some cola nuttiness and a spicy tang finish. The palate had a nice soft roastedness and spicy sweet caramel/brown sugar flavor while the yeast provide a nice soft sourness.

M: The mouthful was light with some light charred woodiness and spicy cloves coming though upon warming.

D: A light bodied and fruity xmas beer with a juice like texture and decent drinkability per style.

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Photo of russpowell
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Note sure how the hell this is a Belgian PA????

Pours an effervescent chestnut with 3+ fingers of rocky tan head. Above average lacing & head retention

S: Chocolate powder& appleskins

T: Tartness & cocoa, appleskins, & brown sugar up front, along with some leafy hops. Dates, appleskins & green apples as this warms, plus a touch of cinnamon. Finishes dry, tart,& with more appleskins

MF: Starts off with fairly vigirous carbonation & the medium body eventually catches up

Drinks easy for a BELGIAN DARK, good offering!

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Photo of beerman21
2.8/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Another product from my christmas variety pack.

appearence- there is nothing pale looking about this one. Its unusually dark for BPA. Pours a cinnimon brown with head the disipates to nothing quickly.

Smell- not much goin on here. hints of bread and spice honestly difficult to describe. not much aroma.

taste- well much more profound then the smell ten fold. Good spice to it. Corrander, ginger typical bready flavor pretty good.

Mouthful- spiceness lingers a little fizziness not over done it ok.

drinkability- average ones good enough for me.

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Photo of MTNboy
3.43/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Dark reddish/brown hue with great off white thick head and beautiful lace.

Smell: I thought the smell was odd it was sort of like soda like scent.

Taste: I has roasty flavor followed by mild fruity and hops.

Mouthfeel: Thin.

Drinkability: Good but pricey

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Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A superior Belgian pale. Pours a big white head, and leaves lots of good lace. A wonderful peachy spicey aroma. Taste of a bit of corriander, cinammon, ginger, vanilla, honey. Smooth drinking, above average carbonation. On the sweet side, but not sweet.Medium mouthfeel.

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Photo of rallison
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice hazy amber/brown pour with a 1/2 finger white head that leaves no lacing but does maintain a ring around the beer.

Smells very fruity with some spice and yeast notes.

The flavor is decent but not overwhelmingly complex. Green apple, touches of sweetness, slightly tart, yeasty finish. Decent.

Mouthfeel has an acceptable amount of carbonation with good drinkability.

Overall, a decent but rather forgettable beer.

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Photo of Nipitato
2.09/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Purchased a bottle at Julio's Liquors in Westborough, MA.

A: Amber hue. Slightly opaque. Visibly effervescent. Virtually no head.

S: Sweet with cola traits. A little grainy. Stale. Kind of funky - and not in a good way. I'm sort of afraid to actually taste this.

T: Very dry with a roasted, crossing well over into burnt, taste. Any other taste characteristics are well masked by the acrid burnt taste of this mess.

MF: Wildly over carbonated. Light mouthfeel.

D, notes: This is not a good or even an average beer. Not well balanced, it doesn't taste good, and the mouthfeel is a wreck. Obviously, not very drinkable.

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Photo of therica
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I tended to find my experience more similar to the review by czechsaaz, below. My son brought this up for Christmas 2007 but we didn't get to drink it until late February 2008. The bottle doesn't seem to have any sort of dating. I believe my son said it was at least a year old.

A= nice chestnut-brown with a huge thick firm head.

S= nasal-stinging hair-burning, not my preference.

T= chocolatey-apricoty-hops, rather metallic for my tastes. Not my preference but I've rated with respect, and the beer is fairly decent for its genre'.

M= clean after it settled.

D= I don't recall finishing my glass to the finish.

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Photo of OStrungT
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a murky brownish color with a decent looking light tan head. The head fades slowly, leaving sparce lace.

This beer has a raisin like aroma. It smells spicy, with some ginger, nutmeg, and coriander. It also smells of spicy hops. Some yeasty aroma is also present.

This beer tastes much like it smells. Fruity, with some raisins, and some figs. It has a spicy flavor. Earthy yeast flavor was also present.

This beer is highly carbonated, leaving a raisin like aftertaste. It ia a little thin.

The beer may make a decent session beer due to the lower alcohol content, but the flavor may, in my humble opinion, would get old fast.

Overall: This beer was ok, but I didnt enjoy it as much as I thought. I wouldnt rush to Belgium to get it again.

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Photo of ccrida
4.8/5  rDev +27.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

At least from Xmas '06, I picked it up in early '07 and didn't get around to it this season until tonight. Poured into my large Gulden Drak tulip, Xmas Zinnebir is a pitch dark ruby with a massive, pillowy tan head that is frustratingly long lasting - this could pass for a RIS! The way it fills the glass just beautiful, even if it's not really leaving much lace (which is probably just my dirty glass anyways). Served at cellar temp.

Smell is soft dried fruits and powdered sugar, a little bit of bubblegum. Extreamly alluring, I just can't get enough.

Taste is very nice and rich rummy malt,not nearly as sweet and fruity as it smells, especially for the first few sips while the palate adjusts to the bitter, astringently dry finish. I really appreciate the depth and esters, this beer is in great shape even if only 1+ year old. I just keep finding myself bumping up the scores as I enjoy this, so much flavor for the size, wow.

Mouthfeel is super smooth, with a medium-light body that is very nice. Wow am I impressed by how well this beer drinks, why have I been putting it off for months??

Drinkability is exceptional, particularly for me because it actually drinks like a BSDA, just as satisfing but not as strong. Damn near perfect, it's just so well executed and approachable, I almost gave it all 5's.

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Photo of Beerenauslese
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a 2-finger head that dissipates quickly, leaving a thin ring of foam. Nut-brown in color with a cloudy transparency. Smells of dark toffee and green hops. Tastes of espresso, carmelized sugar with lingering bitterness, some chocolate and ginger, and dried fruits--raisins and prunes. Got this in the Shelton Bros. X-mas bundle, it is a decent holiday ale.

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Photo of rkuhnel
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From 330 ml bottle this Belgian Pale Ale poured a hazy amber with fizzy white head and good lacing. Nose of fruits with a hint of spices. Lively body and pleasant mouthfeel. Flavor of caramel malts and sweet fruits. Bitter finish. I enjoyed this brew.

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Photo of smcolw
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Large doughy head with a slow rocky withdrawal; leaving lace on the glass as it recedes. Dark amber color (almost like watered down maple syrup) with the slightest of haze.

Wonderful and interesting aromas of Caribbean spices (mainly all spice). Some alcohol in the nose. A little bit of pine hop, too.

Complex: Starts off dry, soon a sense of pepper comes into play, followed by a mildly bitter hop bite. The swallow is mostly hop and the aftertaste features some of the alcohol warmth. Good body and moderate carbonation.

I am surprised by the other reviews on this beer; I found this to be complex, full-bodied and delicious--in short, a beer worth seeking out.

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Photo of Dukeofearl
2.6/5  rDev -31%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

11.2 ounce bottle from a Shelton Bros. Belgian Holiday beer gift pack.

Pours a amber-brown, slightly cloudy, with a strong, steady carbonation that keep a nice beer-cap around a long time.

Aroma is malty, slightly sweet, with an ill-defined herbal spiciness. I wish I could figure it out.

Flavor- well, I really can't figure this out. There is just something wrong here. Sharp, herbal, bitter, dry, and wrong. All spices mangled and mixed and muddied, no clear pattern, no real "beer" flavor.

It just does not work for me. I haven't tried the complete gift pack yet, but I'm pretty sure this is the one I don't like.

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Photo of ybnorml
2.87/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A hazy brown beer with copper highlights. Has a nice creany off white head. The aroma has a strong dried fruit and apple chatacter with a cinnamon spiciness in the background. The flavor has an odd mix of tastes whirling around in your mouth, rubber tire, wood and a piny hop bitterness. There is a real dry finish almost mouth pucking . Kinda reminded me of some Lambics I have had but this is not supposed to be a lambic.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bottle, with some kind of post-modern artwork on the cover,

A: Pours a rather cloudy dark brown, kind of confused as to why this is classified as a BPA instead of a BDA. Anyway, it has a really nice off-white/beige head, huge in the beginning and leaves a nice rim around the glass for the duration, spotty lacing as well.

S: Interesting, opening the bottle, I got a hint of yeast esters, dark fruit which was strong, later after the beer is poured, I got more of a hint of hops and spice, more mild a sensation.

T: At first I was expecting a standard Belgian dark brew, with some spices as part of the Christmas season, but when I first tasted the beer I got an unexpected, but actually pleasant sensation - hops. This is a very hoppy dark ale for Belgium, but it mixes quite well with mild tobacco notes and dark malt. No real esters to be found here. A different but enjoyable experience for a dark Belgain brew.

M: Nothing too exciting, quaffable, nice carbonation and aftertaste, medium-bodied. Though at times it feels just a little too light on the palate, also medicinal notes and phenols make an appearance on certain sips at the back of the tongue, sometimes I enjoyed them and they worked with the flavour, other times they seemed to detract from the overall experience, kind of all over the place.

D: This is an interesting dark beer and my second in the Christmas in Belgium set. A nice little hoppy Christmas beer, though I don't think I'd buy it again at the price that I'm seeing it in stores, but a quality product, nonetheless.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown that is clouded. Nose is perfume touched with an almost floral/tree like fragrance. Kind of like smelling an almost budding something-or-other. Flavor is nice. Evenly spiced. Nice level of sugar and yeast funky. Smooth liquid feel with a low carbonation. This is a smooth beer. Nothing wild or crazy. I might easily be convinced to go for more after a first.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330 ml from the Shelton Bros Christmas in Belgium mixer pack. Poured into my Kasteel tulip.

Short lasting lite tan head... little lacing showing.. slightly hazy chesnut with red highlites.

Aroma is hard to put a finger on... initially it reminds me of Coke coffee and a spicy punch... sorta like a darker saison.

Most interesting thing about the flavor is a roasted malt/cocoa powder finish... fairly dry throughout... Big yeasty spiciness... caramel flavor without the sweetness... tobacco leaves.. lite to lite/medium body with alot of fine bubble carbonation... just a very very dry finish. Has an oak aged characteristic to it... very complex but very hard to pin-down... I honestly think a little more body and sweetness could really pull this one together.

I would certainly buy this brew again.. if I had ready access to it.. I don't believe for a second that aging will help, there already was a mess of yeast in the bottom of the bottle.... I would still pick it up though simply to share with friends and try and figure out what flavors are packed into this little bottle.

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Photo of unibrew
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I got this in a Belgian Xmas pack of 5 beers. Individually, it's 11.2oz. of beer. I read the other reviews, and I pretty much agree.

I think this is a pretty decent beer... it fits in with other Belgians, with some odd berries and what not thrown in. Now, I wouldn't likely order this if there were better brews available, but, it's not a bad beer at all. God knows I've tried MUCH worse!

It's pretty drinkable.. not great on taste.. maybe a little too flowery or perfumy for my liking. I'd say it's the Magic Hat #9 of Belgium. That should tell you all you need to know!

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.39/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This label art is about as weird as their Taras Boulba, maybe even weirder...computery, with another Picasso character, some animal woman with a bob holding a beer, lit by a star, and there's another animal in a suit opening an enormous bottle. Strange. I won't look too far for the meaning!

Dark brown/burgundy, plummy appearance, litte head atop.

Very aromatic, wafts out from the start, but let's go in...dark fruit & spices, cola & a bit of cocoa, licorice...raisins and pepper.

Taste: darker, spicier, but none too rich. Hot. Bigger spice that I expected. Light bodied, compared to the fierce flavor, and the spice sticks out way too much without some tasty malt to back it up. More I drink, the more annoying is this prickly heat. I'm not digging the Zennebir, nossir.

There's some taste, but it's overpowered by this intense spicy, cola-y...Dr. Peppery thing...not what I'm looking for !

C'est la vie!


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Photo of Risser09
4.02/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a Tulip - 2007 release - Served at cellar temperature

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy copper color with red highlights and a 2" tall tan head. The head was quick to rise and created a decent cake of foam. Very little lacing is left on the sides of the glass.

Smell: Smells of a Belgian farmhouse ale or saison. Malt frame with plenty of Belgian spice. Aromas of wood, dried fruit, figs, plums, some leather and raisin.

Taste: A rather crisp maltiness hits me in the mouth. Dry oakiness is a major flavor as well. Others include rum raisin, belgian yeast and a really strong vanilla extract (without the vanilla harshness). This is a tasty beer.

Mouthfeel: Very sharp with the oaky dryness and alcohol burn. I wonder if this isn't higher than 6.5% after refermentation in the bottle. There seems to be a lot of yeast in there. Medium body and a moderately creamy finish. Belly warming alcohol.

Drinkability: I enjoyed this beer a lot. I don't think it was worth the $4.50 I paid for it, though. I'm confused as to why this is considered a Christmas Ale. There aren't a whole lot of Christmas spices in there, but it is tasty nonetheless. Worth a try.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.23/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fairly well carbonated, with only a touch of work I easily get a four-finger thick, amber to dark tan colored pillow of froth sitting atop a deeply burnt, amber colored brew (not quite black, but close enough). Surprisingly when I hold the beer up to the light I can see right through it; The light shows a brilliantly clear, and I mean brilliantly clear, deep ruby hue that is absolutely gorgeous. the head leaves lots of lacing as it slowly subsides and even forms a varied, interesting surface with lots of elevation change. The aroma has a nice burnt note to it, but the fruitiness is the first thing that I notice; notes of concentrated plums, raisins and even a touch of tart apple notes are the most noticeable fruit aromatics. The roast character brings a sharpness to the aroma as well as carrying a rich malt character. Aromatics reminiscent of well toasted whole grain bread, touches of dark chocolate, dusty burnt grain husks and something like toasted, crushed soda cracker dust. Touches of liquorice, aromas of cloves, hints of toasted allspice add a spicy component to the nose. The aroma is quite nice and I really like how no one component is dominant; each of my three groupings (fruit, malt & spice) add a noticeable, but well integrated component to the aroma.

Served cool (about 58°F / 14°C), the beer has a soft creaminess to it that is contributed by the residual malt sugars. The sweet malt notes add a touch of body to what is most definitely an easy drinking brew. The sweetness accentuates some notes of raisins and concentrated plum, but compared to the aroma these have lost their intensity and focus. Instead the apple notes (both sweet & tart varieties) as well as fresh, ripe, slightly tart plum notes and even a hint of some concord grape flavors. The fruitiness definitely has a roasted, slightly burnt edge to it and the finish even has slight drying effect with the soft, modestly astringent burnt malt character. This has a really nice malty middle to it; flavors of toasted grain, deeply caramelized / slightly burnt malt sugars, The burnt fruit notes, the toasty malt and the smooth roast character make me think they used some Special B malt here. Spicy notes of clove, cardamom, and cola form a subtle backdrop to the more dominant characteristics already mentioned.

A very tasty beer; this is full flavored, yet not overwhelming. Once again I have been quite impressed by the, now, three beers that I have had from this brewer. I'll definitely make sure I pick up the other brews from these guys as I can. I really dig how light and easy drinking this beer is; this makes it quite a bit easier to finish a whole 750ml bottle on my own. Of course it doesn't hurt that I am really enjoying this beer too, but at least I won't be completely useless after finishing this brew. Looking at some other reviews of this beer I get the feeling that a bit of age has done a lot for this beer.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.23/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

06/30/07- Purchased at CVS Pharmacy in Billings, MT.

Presentation- 750ml bottle with no visable freshness info. Poured into my Duvel glass.

Appearance- Dark brown, maybe a bit a red in the mix. Mahogoney? Head is about 1/2 inch on the pour. A decent sized ring remains. Light patchy lace is left behind.

Smell- Not a huge nose, but what is there is nice. Light dusting of clove with some dark fruits and maybe a bit of dark chocolate.

Taste- Mixture of the nose. More spicy notes than anything. Clove and maybe even a light cinnimon taste combines with some raisins and maybe plums. Chocolate is there, but hidden behind the spicy flavor. A nice sweetness forms as the beer warms to room temp.

Mouthfeel- About perfect carbonation with a light slick sweet taste remaining on the tongue.

Drinkability- A better than expected find from Billings...in a pharmacy of all places. Has a really nice flavor and sweetness from a lower abv brew. Pretty impressed with this Belgian Dark.

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Photo of czechsaaz
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice malt aroma with spicy notes. I get licorice and vanilla with fruity yeast profile like plums. I also get chocolate and a hint of red wine like acidity.

Deep brown colored with a thick tan head that lasts and leaves solid amounts of lacing.

Flavor starts off very malty with more ripe fruit like black cherries and prunes. There's a pretty up front roast malt component too which lingers on the aftertaste a little too much giving it a little tannic effect. Some hop bitterness, but very restrained. I also get more spice but it's so subtle that I think it's more yeast than added spices. I still get licorice and also nutmeg. Overall it's very nice well rounded flavor.

Medium bodied with pretty high carbonation level. very lively.

Very approachable dark belgian ale. nice and complex but light enough to be a drinkable beer instead of a sipper.

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X-Mas Zinnebir from Brasserie de la Senne
Beer rating: 3.77 out of 5 with 143 ratings